Eco-friendly retailer opening store in former Baja Bean building in the Fan

Less Than owner Chris Simmonds in the Norfolk location of his chain of eco-friendly stores. (Courtesy of Chris Simmonds)

A retail chain that sells eco-friendly household items and toiletries is expanding into Richmond.

Less Than plans to open in the next few weeks at 1 N. Lombardy St. in the Fan. The store will take up a portion of the former Baja Bean Co. space, which previously occupied the basement of the building at the corner of Main and Lombardy streets.

It will be the company’s first store outside of Hampton Roads, where it has three locations in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton.

Less Than stores feature refill stations where customers fill up reusable containers with shampoo, soaps, lotions and other offerings and pay based on weight. The stores also feature individual items, ranging from food storage containers to baby products among other offerings.

Owner Chris Simmonds said he set his sights on Richmond because he felt there was space for such a concept in the city and enough environmentally-conscious young people to sustain the concept.

“We feel like the generation below me are more charged up about what they want for their future so we feel like it’s a good fit for demographics,” said Simmonds, who is 40.

Less Than plans to open a Richmond location in a portion of the former Baja Bean Co. space in the Fan. (Jack Jacobs photo)

Simmonds launched the company as a web store in January 2020 but soon decided that the concept needed a physical presence to better sell the idea.

“After launching the website, I realized these were products people really had to see,” he said. “The goal is to make sustainability accessible and that means bringing it as close to people as possible.”

Simmonds sold items at farmers markets in early 2020 until the pandemic hit. His first brick-and-mortar store opened in May 2020 in Norfolk.

He said the idea for Less Than was spurred by his experiences as a customer and his troubles finding the types of sustainable products he was interested in.

“I found myself going place to place for things that fit my lifestyle,” he said. “It’s really just online and you have to go from one store to another.”

Less Than, which will have a 700-square-foot space on Main Street, joins Small Friend Records & Books and vintage furniture store Boho To Go at the former Baja Bean. Building owner John Conrad has renovated the space to accommodate multiple tenants. Conrad also has his eye on a mixed-use development that would rise on the property’s parking lot.

Less Than owner Chris Simmonds in the Norfolk location of his chain of eco-friendly stores. (Courtesy of Chris Simmonds)

A retail chain that sells eco-friendly household items and toiletries is expanding into Richmond.

Less Than plans to open in the next few weeks at 1 N. Lombardy St. in the Fan. The store will take up a portion of the former Baja Bean Co. space, which previously occupied the basement of the building at the corner of Main and Lombardy streets.

It will be the company’s first store outside of Hampton Roads, where it has three locations in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton.

Less Than stores feature refill stations where customers fill up reusable containers with shampoo, soaps, lotions and other offerings and pay based on weight. The stores also feature individual items, ranging from food storage containers to baby products among other offerings.

Owner Chris Simmonds said he set his sights on Richmond because he felt there was space for such a concept in the city and enough environmentally-conscious young people to sustain the concept.

“We feel like the generation below me are more charged up about what they want for their future so we feel like it’s a good fit for demographics,” said Simmonds, who is 40.

Less Than plans to open a Richmond location in a portion of the former Baja Bean Co. space in the Fan. (Jack Jacobs photo)

Simmonds launched the company as a web store in January 2020 but soon decided that the concept needed a physical presence to better sell the idea.

“After launching the website, I realized these were products people really had to see,” he said. “The goal is to make sustainability accessible and that means bringing it as close to people as possible.”

Simmonds sold items at farmers markets in early 2020 until the pandemic hit. His first brick-and-mortar store opened in May 2020 in Norfolk.

He said the idea for Less Than was spurred by his experiences as a customer and his troubles finding the types of sustainable products he was interested in.

“I found myself going place to place for things that fit my lifestyle,” he said. “It’s really just online and you have to go from one store to another.”

Less Than, which will have a 700-square-foot space on Main Street, joins Small Friend Records & Books and vintage furniture store Boho To Go at the former Baja Bean. Building owner John Conrad has renovated the space to accommodate multiple tenants. Conrad also has his eye on a mixed-use development that would rise on the property’s parking lot.

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